Yochi J. Dreazen of The Atlantic is reporting that, in Mali, popular musician Baba Salah is using his talent to call for war. Although he is more commonly known throughout Africa and Europe for his love songs, in his song “Dangay,” Salah urges, “Even at the cost of our lives, we need to join hands to fight the invaders and liberate our occupied territories.” He promises those in the north that they will be released from the Islamic occupation. In Salah’s native town of Gao, in the north, Islamists banned music and enforced many more destructive measures. “Dangay” was Salah’s angry response.
Salah’s American producer, Paul Chandler, said the musician originally wrote the song as an instrumental. Chandler said that he asked Salah to add the lyrics after the Islamists cemented their control of the north, including Gao, a year ago.
They recorded Dangay – which is Songhai for “north” — in October and released it the following month.
“Baba was being realistic about the fact that it was going to take a military intervention to dislodge the people who had taken the north,” Chandler told me. “He’s not someone who would support things like the Iraq War, but he was realistic about what was needed here.”
The song immediately went into heavy rotation on Malian radio stations, a reflection of the widespread fury across the country over the Islamist occupation and the government’s inability to end it. French military intervention has dislodged the extremists from Gao and other major northern cities, but it will take years for the region to recover from the occupation and heavy fighting.
Read more at The Atlantic.
This news brief was written by Kaitlin Higgins.